Your Domain Name System (DNS) is what makes you discoverable on the internet; it translates your catchy website name into an IP address so that machines (your hosting computer) can recognise the number and load up the right files that make up your landing page.
There’s a lot more to it, and it all goes on behind the scenes. On a basic level, however, you need a DNS if you’d like to make yourself easily discoverable online—because people certainly aren’t typing 188.8.131.52 into their URL when what they actually want is www.nimbushosting.co.uk.
It would be like going back to the early 90s when you had to remember everyone’s telephone numbers—and no one’s got the bandwidth for that these days. The task of moving your hosting over to a different provider can seem like a bit of a minefield. Will everything still work the same? Will there be disruptions?
In essence, what you’re doing is building the same house (website), giving out the same address (domain name) to all your friends and family (customers), but your home is on a new plot (server). You’re probably thinking: Eh? Why would you do such a strange thing? It seems unnecessary?
The reasons for wanting to switch hosting can vary. Often, it’s because you want better, faster, more reliable services—like good plumbing and safe electric sockets, but you still want the same house on the outside with the same street address. If you’ve decided to get some fresh hosting for your website and optimise its capabilities, we’re here to guide you through the process. Pointing your domain name to a new host doesn’t have to be complicated, and after a few changes to your settings, you could be on your way to a smoother hosting experience.
Get the login details
If you don’t know where your domain name is registered or where your website is hosted, you can check here. Once you’ve established what’s where and who’s who in terms of host and domain ‘holder’, first things first, you’ll need the login details to access the settings. Also, if you’ve got more than one domain with this registrar, be very specific about which ones you want to point to the new hosting provider. The better your record keeping is, the easier and smoother the transition will be. So make sure that you always have your DNS details safely stored for future reference.
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Do you want to keep your domain name, DNS and hosting all separate or is it time to bring them together?
You will either have your DNS, domain and hosting all separate with different providers or some of these services will be together with a few or one provider looking after them. For example, if you had a great idea for a business name, snapped up the domain on Google Domains and only decided on a hosting provider after you’d hashed out your business plan, your domain name and your hosting are likely to be separate.
In most cases, it’s advisable to keep them all together for greater efficiency and service delivery.
If you’re transferring both your DNS records and hosting to the new host, there are a few steps to follow:
- Your new hosting provider must be set up with your new website. Your server must have an active IP address.
- Note down your new provider’s name servers or A name record (IP address of the new server) you should be able to find this on their website.
- Screenshot your current DNS records for reference.
- After the transfer, update the name servers or A name record to your new provider.
- Replicate all the other DNS settings.
However, you may not always want to move your DNS records. That’s okay, all you have to do is point your DNS to the new server but keep your records with the original domain name seller.
To point your domain name to the new server, follow these steps:
- Log into your account with your domain provider and find your settings.
- Find your name servers and copy them to your clipboard.
- Log into your registrar admin panel and paste the server address in the Domain Name Server Setup area of the domain you’re trying to repoint.
- It can take up to 72 hours for the DNS to update, so just hang tight.
DNS propagation is the timeframe after you’ve initiated changes to your domain name. It can take up to 72 hours for all worldwide servers to update their cached information regarding your domain name.
You can use a DNS propagation tool to check how the transition is progressing across all your servers. This allows for better communication between clients and helps to keep everyone updated. It may sound complicated, but once you’ve got all the relevant information, it’s simply a matter of setting the right dials and flipping the correct switches.
Once it’s all done, your website should run like a well-oiled machine—provided you’ve opted for a quality web host, of course. As specialists in the field of digital dials and switches, we’re happy to answer any technical questions you may have, so feel free to drop us a line.